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Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire

Accurately plotting a horse’s form cycle is just one of the techniques that can lead to a profitable day at the races.

Like any athlete, a Thoroughbred is prone to having stretches of time when it runs poorly or extremely well, and knowing when a good or bad showing is in the offing can be a huge asset in structuring your wagers.

Wild Target serves as an excellent example of a horse who has endured positive and negative form cycles.

After he broke his maiden with an Aug. 15, 2012 win at Saratoga, he turned in three more efforts in which he was no worse than second during a highly positive form cycle.

Then, after a runner-up finish in an ungraded stakes on Nov. 9, Wild Target did not return to the races until May 4 at Churchill Downs when he finished eighth. In his next three races, Wild Target’s negative form cycle continued as he finished ninth, sixth and seventh.

In that seventh-place finish in an Aug. 1 race at Saratoga, however, Wild Target was claimed by trainer Mike Maker on behalf of Ken and Sarah Ramsey and shipped to Kentucky for his next start.

That race came on Sept. 6 at Churchill Downs when Wild Target was dropped to an all-time low claiming price of $30,000 in a race for limited winners. He proceeded to wake up for his new connections and won by a length and a half as an 8-5 second choice in a field of five.

On Sept. 21 at Churchill Downs, Maker brought Wild Target back in a tougher $25,000 open claimer and handicappers had a tricky decision to make. Was Wild Target’s last race a reflection of facing weak competition or was he in the midst of another positive form cycle?

There were reasons to believe in either possibility yet of the two, reflecting on how Wild Target had previously strung several good and then bad races together, it was logical to believe he had at least one more good effort left in the tank.

Those who had faith in a positive form cycle were treated to an $8.20 payoff when Wild Target posted a two-length win as the 3-1 second choice in the wagering.

THE LESSON: Putting form cycles – either positive or negative - to work for you can take some of the guess work out of handicapping.

WILD TARGET'S PAST PERFORMANCES

 Wild Target Inside

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Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

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